Water temps are very cold for parts of the Lake Michigan shore

Posted at 5:37 PM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 22:58:58-04

WEST MICHIGAN — Anyone trying to swim in Lake Michigan lately may wonder what is happening to our water temperatures there. After being in the relatively comfortable 70s this time last week, water temperatures are now in the lower to middle 60s along most of the Lake Michigan shoreline. Some areas are even reporting water temperatures as low as the lower 50s! Here is a look at some water temperatures in West Michigan on the "big lake" on our latest Marine Forecast graphic:

Grand Haven State Park called in with an observed water temperature of just 52°! Up the road at Hoffmaster State Park near Muskegon, the reported water temperature is 64°, which is still rather chilly. The low to mid 60s on the map from Holland southward are actually *estimated* water temperatures based on the National Weather Service (NWS) daily recreational beach report.

But the bottom line is this: Water temperatures are chilly along the Lake Michigan shoreline, no matter where in West Michigan you try to go swimming. And the main reason the water temperatures are chilliest near Grand Haven is the recent north to northeast wind direction we've experienced since Friday.

A wind coming from that direction moves almost perpendicular to the coast, blowing the warmer surface water towards the middle of the lake. The deeper, colder water is then forced upward to replace it, which meteorologists and hydrologists call "upwelling."

Winds through tomorrow will still generally come from a north or northeasterly direction, turning to the north or northwest in the afternoon as the typical afternoon lake breeze develops (see the marine forecast above, and the model wind forecast below).

This wind scenario will keep water temperatures generally on the cooler side on Tuesday.

However, more of a west and eventually southwest flow will develop toward the end of the week and into the weekend. This type of wind generally blows the warmer surface water from the center and west side of the lake towards the eastern (Michigan) shoreline.

As a result, water temperatures should slowly climb by the weekend.

The more tolerable water temperatures will be arriving just in time for the return to warmer, more humid conditions in West Michigan. High temperatures Friday through Monday will mainly be in the 80s. That means Lake Michigan should be a good place to cool-off (without going numb!) this weekend.

Be sure to stay tuned to FOX 17 for updates on water and air temperatures -- as well as rain chances -- as the weekend approaches!